PARIS (AFP) – Novak Djokovic reached his fourth French Open final with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 demolition of Austria’s Dominic Thiem on Friday to move one match closer to a career Grand Slam.
The world number one will tackle either second seed Andy Murray or defending champion Stan Wawrinka in Sunday’s title match in what will be the Serb’s 20th Grand Slam final.
It will be the 29-year-old’s sixth successive Grand Slam championship match as he looks to add a first Roland Garros crown to his collection of 11 majors.
Victory on Sunday will also make him just the eighth man to complete the career Grand Slam.
“The atmosphere was fantastic. It’s the first time I have played a semi-final on the Suzanne Lenglen court,” said the top seed, moved out to the secondary arena as organisers played catch-up in a rain-ruined schedule.
“I played the best tennis of the tournament so far. I am now in the situation where I always dream of being each season, in the final of Roland Garros.”
Djokovic sprinted out to a 3-0 lead in the opener on the back of a break in the second game against 13th-seeded Thiem.
A double fault by the young Austrian opened the door for Djokovic to take the first set in the eighth game.
Thiem, who possesses a picture-perfect one-handed backhand, was undone by 20 unforced errors to just five by the world number one.
Djokovic was just as untouchable in the second set despite playing for a fourth successive day as the slightly faster conditions played into his hands.
Breaks for the Serb came in the fourth and sixth games and the set was wrapped up in just 25 minutes.
Thiem, playing in his first Grand Slam semi-final, had taken just nine points off the Djokovic serve at that stage.
However, the form which had taken Thiem to a season-leading 25 match wins on clay this season, suddenly appeared as he broke and held for a 3-0 lead in the third set.
It had taken him 77 minutes to achieve his first break of the contest, much to the delight of a crowd getting value for money for their US$22 ticket investment.
But Djokovic roared back, sweeping the next five games for 5-3 before 22-year-old Thiem stopped the bleeding at 4-5.
The Austrian had one last chance to prolong his afternoon with a break point in the 10th game as Djokovic served for the match.
But the world number one was not to be denied as he went to match point and converted the opportunity when Thiem slipped a backhand wide.